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LPRC at the 2nd SISBRAMME event, Porto Alegre

On May 3, LPRC joined the 2nd SISBRAMME (South Brazilian Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Symposium) held at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This annual event is a joint effort from both the local SME (Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration) and the SEG (Society of Economic Geologists) student chapters. The 2018 edition’s theme was “Base Industries” and LPRC brought in a presentation entitled “Technological Innovations in Mining – Case Studies in Europe”, providing an overview over the portfolio of projects the company has been involved in recently and also the European context for research & innovation in the mineral raw materials sector. The event was attended by students, professors and local industry representatives.

The region of south Brazil is currently experiencing a renewed interest in mining through advanced projects (Phosphate and Zinc), prospect of new ones (Nickel and Gold), deep-sea mining and socio-political debates over environmental impacts and the future of local coal mining. Our Foresight expert and representative Marco Konrat Martins underlined the importance of Foresight as a powerful tool to help researchers, policy-makers and industry to deal with the diversity of expectations and the uncertainties stemming from mineral resources exploitation.

INTERMIN Kick off Meeting

Between the 13th and 15th of February, the INTERMIN (International Network of Raw Materials Training Centres) Consortium and Advisory Board members gathered together in Brussels, Belgium, for the kick-off meeting of INTERMIN – a 36-month H2020 Project aiming at the creation of a self-sustainable long-term lasting international network of training centres for the raw materials sector.

For that, scoping and mapping activities will be undertaken internationally, collecting information of relevant raw materials-related skills from training institutions around the globe offering a wide variety of programmes and courses. This will be followed by an assessment of the employers’ needs in terms of skills and knowledge as a means of analysing the existing gaps in the sector. This will be projected into short, medium and long timeframes. Once the gaps are identified and better understood, enhanced approaches and actions will be appraised for responding to these gaps in the sector, creating a new paradigm for international training centres in the raw materials sector.

LPRC is leading Work Package 2 (WP2): Raw materials sector skills, gaps and needs. The main tasks will be assessing the employers’ needs and developing a competency model for the raw materials sector. For that, LPRC will work closely with its project partners, particularly the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and the French Geological Survey (BRGM).

Read more about the project at this summary.

 

¡VAMOS! & UNEXMIN joint conference, Bled

On the January 30, the Hotel Kompas in Bled, Slovenia, hosted the “Use of Robotics and Automation for Mineral Prospecting and Extraction”, a joint conference of UNEXMIN, ¡VAMOS! and Real Time Mining Projects. The conference was led by Gorazd Zibret from the Geological Survey of Slovenia. The 1-day conference featured the latest research in a variety of topics related to robotics and automation and their application to exploration and extraction of mineral raw materials. It started with a plenary session featuring presentations such as “Advances in Subsea Mining” (Stef Kapusniak) and “Future Mining: Scenarios and Roadmaps (an international review)” (Marco Konrat Martins, LPRC).

The conference was then divided into two parallel sessions: one related to Hardware developments moderated by Norbert Zajzon (University of Miskolc) and the other related to Software developments moderated by Steve Henley (Resource Computing International).

After the lunch break, the conference resumed with a plenary session introducing the leading projects. LPRC presented “UNEXMIN project: an underwater explorer for flooded mines” (Luís Lopes).

UNEXMIN / ¡VAMOS! workshops

During the afternoon, the participants were divided in two interactive workshops: one dedicated to exploitation of the technologies, the other to future research and technology roadmap planning.

On the exploitation workshop participants were called to answer three questions. The input will then be used to adapt better exploitation measures for both projects. The questions were: (1) What is the best the best exploitation strategy for project participants?, (2) How to persuade customers to buy/invest into new technologies? and, (3) How and where to get additional funds for the projects’ development?.

The research roadmap workshop focussed on analysing future scenarios and how the technologies can adapt to specific changes in the raw materials sector. Then, participants helped in the identification of future prospects in three main areas: geological data collection, spatial awareness and navigation, and extraction. The data will be used to define possible research/technology pathways for both projects for the short, medium and long-term future.

MICA Final Consortium Meeting, Brussels

On January 23, the Horizon 2020 MICA (Mineral Intelligence Capacity Analysis) project held its final meeting in Brussels, Belgium, after two years of lifetime.

The final one-day event had the objective of recollecting all the work done throughout the many Work Packages, the current state and the plans for the future. During the day, presentations were given for each work package – in a total of 7, outlining their work, deliverables and reports, and major findings to the audience.

MICA partners present at the Final Consortium meeting

Some of the main products coming out of the MICA project are:

  • A comprehensive assessment of stakeholders and stakeholders’ needs in raw materials intelligence;
  • A collection of relevant raw materials data and the MICA metadata inventory;
  • Various methodologies (“recipes”) to answer raw materials intelligence needs;
  • A Raw Materials Intelligence (Policy) Matrix – to assess EU countries for the capacities, methods and tools employed;
  • The EU-RMICP (European Raw Materials Intelligence Capacity Platform);
  • The Raw Materials Foresight Guide.

The MICA final meeting was concluded with an endnote discussing the future of the MICA platform and the general outcomes of the project.

Presentation and discussion of the MICA platform

LPRC thanks all members of the consortium and third parties for the great work and effort put into the many stages of MICA!

The EU-RMICP will be launched soon, stay tuned!

FORAM at the MIN-GUIDE annual conference 2017, Brussels

The MIN-GUIDE annual conference 2017 was held in Brussels, 13th and 14th of December 2017. The conference was entitled “An Innovation-Friendly Policy Framework along the Mineral Production Value Chain” and intended to provide insights into the “cornerstones and future trends of an innovation-friendly policy framework for exploration and extraction, processing, waste management, and mine closure”.

As part of the MIN-GUIDE conference’s poster section, the FORAM project was presented by LPRC member Luís Lopes. The FORAM project is creating a World Forum on Raw Materials in order to further establish the international cooperation on raw materials throughout its entire value chain. Through the poster, the FORAM project attracted a lot of attention, mainly from institutions who want to be involved as stakeholders in the development of the forum (envisaged to be ready by the end of 2018). The FORAM project aims to connect institutions and persons in its network, understand their needs, and adapt cooperation measures to solve them.

UNEXMIN and ¡VAMOS! at the “H2020 cluster event for ongoing mining projects”, Brussels

Both the UNEXMIN and ¡VAMOS! projects were presented at the first event on Horizon 2020 mining projects, entitled “H2020 cluster event for ongoing mining projects”, organized by EASME in Brussels, Belgium, on the 12th of December 2017. The event served as a catalyser to gather Horizon 2020 and FP7 projects that are performing research and innovation in the various areas of the mining sector. These include underwater exploration (the case for UNEXMIN) and underwater exploitation (the case for ¡VAMOS!), amongst many others.

The one-day event was characterised by presentations from each of the invited projects regarding objectives, approaches, and challenges – the main goal was to find synergies between the different mining projects, specially through networking. There were 6 main fields where the different projects were allocated: Intelligent Mining, Deep Sea Exploration and Mining, Sustainable Selective Low-Impact Mining, Re-opening abandoned mines in the EU, Real Time Exploration and Real Time Mining, Alternative Mining and, finally, Climate Services for Mining.

The one-day event was characterised by presentations from each of the invited projects regarding objectives, approaches, and challenges. The main goal was to find synergies between the different mining projects, specially through networking. There were 6 main fields where the different projects were allocated: Intelligent Mining, Deep Sea Exploration and Mining, Sustainable Selective Low-Impact Mining, Re-opening abandoned mines in the EU, Real Time Exploration and Real Time Mining, Alternative Mining and, finally, Climate Services for Mining.

The UNEXMIN and ¡VAMOS! projects were both part of the “Re-opening abandoned mines in the EU” session. Both projects are creating innovative solutions to explore and exploit underwater environments such as flooded underground mines and open-pit mines. With the use of the technologies, that are being developed by our projects, the re-opening of closed, abandoned mines is becoming a reality.

¡VAMOS! at the Mines and Technology conference, London

The Mines and Technology conference, together with the Mines and Money symposium, took place from the 27th to the 30th of November in the Business Design Centre in London. The conference addressed the most critical areas within the technology revolution that is happening in the mining sector. Senior decision makers from mining companies and technology providers alike shared their vision and innovation strategies and discussed the latest technological developments in the sector.

During the morning plenary and afternoon parallel sessions, a range of topics, from automation and enhanced drilling systems to data analytics and mobile technologies, were presented alongside with their respective safety, environmental and cost benefits.

From LPRC, Edine Bakker gave a presentation on the newly developed ¡VAMOS! mining technology and its potential benefits, which was received with much interest and enthusiasm by the audience. The overwhelmingly positive feedback on the presentation illustrates a general consensus on the positive impacts that the project might have once it is finished, as developments and testing in real life conditions are still ongoing.

Edine Bakker presenting the ¡VAMOS! project during the Mines and Technology conference

It is now up to the ¡VAMOS! project partners to define their future strategy to advance the technology to the next level.

UNEXMIN & ¡vamos! at the Real-Time Mining Conference, Amsterdam

During the 10th and 11th of October, both the UNEXMIN and ¡vamos! projects were present at the Real-Time Mining Conference, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The two projects offering research and innovation action solutions, had members from the consortia presenting talks to the audience regarding an overview of the work developed and present and future steps.

Real-Time Mining Conference kick-off

The Real-Time Mining conference brought together researchers from 4 EU-funded projects: SOLSA, Real-Time Mining, ¡vamos!, and UNEXMIN and external interested parties such as other project and industry participants. The main goal was to show what each project is working on and the different solutions to overcome the difficulties. The exchange of ideas and rising of synergies between different activities become a welcome reality after each presentation.

The conference kickstarted with the overview presentations of the four above mentioned Horizon2020 projects. From LPRC’s side, two members of the UNEXMIN and ¡vamos! consortia were present at the Real-Time Mining conference – they gave the overview of these respective projects.

¡vamos! and UNEXMIN received a lot of attention with their talks, which was reflected in the great amount of questions and further discussions, even during the breaks. The next sessions for the first and second days were dedicated to more specific talks regarding positioning and material tracking, automated material characterization, resource modelling and value of information, process optimization and, data management.

The Real-Time Mining conference was very successful in all aspects. For LPRC, it meant communicating the projects, raising awareness of the future technologies, finding new ideas and making valuable contacts for the future.

FEMP annual reunion in Sopron, Hungary

The Federation of European Mineral Programs (FEMP) annual reunion took place in Sopron, Hungary, organized by the University of Miskolc. FEMP organizes and co-ordinates the European Mining, Minerals a nd Environmental Program (EMMEP) for students in Resource Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering, Mineral Processing, Recycling and related academic studies. Tamás Miklovicz, as a former student of the European Geotechnical Environmental Course (EGEC), organized by FEMP, participated in the event. Every year a reunion is organized to gather former students, academics and industry rep resentatives for an informal weekend with networking and interesting events

The reunion kicked-off with a guided city tour and welcome reception on Thursday, 31st of August. Next day, after the FEMP industrial members business meeting, the reunion was opened by the organiser, Ferenc Mádai. The morning session included a workshop, discussion about the Minatura2020 project, which was introduced by Zoltán Horváth. Before the workshop, Tamás Miklovicz had a one-slide addition, providing an outlook on Horizon 2020 opportunities and its best examples, including UNEXMIN, INTRAW and CHPM2030 projects.

During the workshop, the participants were divided into three groups, based on the factors that define Mineral Deposits of Public Importance (MDoPI): Level of Geological Knowledge, moderated by Zoltán Horváth, Environmental and Social aspects, moderated by Tamas and Economic considerations, moderated by Ákos Csicsek. Such factors are Background Geological Information & Knowledge – known or unknown mining/quarrying districts, Impact of Past Exploitation Activities in a Specific Tract, Social Acceptance, Compatibility With Other Land Uses, Contribution of an Active Operation to the Added-Value Chain of Mineral Products, etc. The participants realised that these factors are rather complex and many of them can have a positive or negative effect on future mining activity. The participants explained some of their experience at mines they were working. As a conclusion, there are many good examples where mining operation, surface or underground, is very welcome by the local community, however generally speaking, there are a lot of work needs to be done to harmonize mining operation with other land uses.

In the afternoon session, the best master thesis have been presented from the just graduated students. One of the highlight is the Development of a comprehensive system Model for a Magnetic Density Separation Process Line from Wokke Wijdeveld, which dealt with a novel type of separation technique, using water based magnetic ferrofluid, mixed with grains of different density. The mixture is put into an electromagnetic field that creates a vertical density gradient, which separates the particles, based on their type (density), so it can be divided into its base products.

During the whole event, a poster section was open with UNEXMIN, KINDRA, CHPM and INTRAW posters, allowing the participants to get familiar with these interesting projects.

The reunion closed with a very relaxed bike tour and BBQ. But EIT Raw Materials certified courses continue, highly recommended for any student interested in the mineral raw material sector.

Next year see you in Delft!